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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

How To Drill Holes In Sea Shells

Picking Seashells

The shell pile on Captiva is moving to pile up under the  Blind Pass bridge.

Under the Blind Pass Bridge

Wormie worm shell

Baby Flat Scallop

While shelling under the bridge, I met Gwen from Connecticut. She makes jewelry from SEA GLASS and shells by drilling holes in them. I’ve made seashell decorations from shells that already have holes in them  (like my sand dollar and starfish garland) or with hot glue (like my Santa hat) but I’ve never drilled holes in shells to string or wire into jewelry or decorations. So here ya go… meet Gwen! She’s going to tell you how to drill holes in the SEA GLASS or any shell!

Isn’t that fantastic? Thank you Gwen! I can’t wait to try it. Here’s the rest of the group that was there with us.

Shelling under Captiva bridge

Do you see someone familiar in there ? In the middle is blogger and shelling sister Kaybe from The Essential Beachcomber. She came to Sanibel for the day from Englewood and I saw her find this yummy bright orange TURBAN shell. You don’t often see TURBANS this color so it’s always a real treat to find one.

Bright orange Turban Seashell


  1. Where do you climb down to get under the blind pass bridge?

  2. That’s a great turban Kaybe found. It must get a little hard to shell that side of the jetty during high tide. I suppose there are a lot of folks who snorkel around over there.

    Gail – I’ve seen people climb down right next to the bridge behind where the folks in the picture are. I’ve also seen them just climbing over the jetty to get to the water. Wouldn’t want to slip on those rocks though!

  3. OMG again and again and again. Look at all those incredible finds!!! How incredible is that wormie worm shell and Kaybe’s bright orange turban. I adore the look of that shell. Thanks to Gwen too, I’ve never been successful drilling sea glass, now I know how! So it’s a diamond head bit for the Dremel I need?! Pruxxx

  4. My hands twitch and make scooping arcs every time I see these piles of shells!! LOL Thanks for sharing with us – truly makes my day. I can’t wait to get home and watch the video.

  5. Thank you for bringing us all such a great Blog! I cannot wait to get back to sanibel. It is soooooo cold up here in NY Just seeing the water and the shells brings me back to the Sea! Thank you!!

  6. Wow! I wish I was still there! (and yes, the Dremel drill with a diamond tip drill bit under water works well on sea glass — it’s what I use for my jewelry)

  7. I can not believe how many shells are piled up there on Captiva! I’ve never so many before! Sure hope there’s a boatload full when I get down there in March! lol!

    Thanks for the nice tutorial from Gwen! It was nice of her to take the time to tell us how to do that! :)

    xoxo laurie

  8. I love your site ! I take part in the Sanibel Shell Fair every year with my Sailors Valentines. You offer so much info as to where to look for shells in Sanibel. .Being in Canada there aren’t too many sources to share the interest . Nobody knows what Valentines are up here !

  9. P.S. When I was down in Sanibel last week, I noticed that The Bead Shop was advertising a manual tool for drilling shells for only $10 (plus the cost of bits). That may be all you need to drill shells since they’re softer than sea glass …

    ~ Maria

  10. Loved the tips for drilling holes…it goes beyond my simple attempts at using a carpenter’s drill to make holes in shells (works great) for making wind chimes. :)

  11. **** I just noticed today – the link at the top of the page for “I love shelling” items…fabulous!! I am a huge fan of this blog and am happy to be able to buy a shirt or tote so that I can be identified on my next trip to Sanibel. How fun it will be to search for other fans!!***

  12. *****HELP****I want to puechase the tote and I ckick add to cart and it takes me to PayPal. But I dont see a cart or know what to do next. Sorry I haven’t used PP in years.

  13. I’m trying to order t-shirts, caps and beach bags and I am having the same problem as Roxanne. I can get the caps to go to the cart, but nothing else. Any suggestions? (LOVE the Hat!!)

    • WAIT! Me again :) Don’t know how I did it exactly, but when I was closing out from this screen and the shop my checkout cart came up and I was able to send for all my goodies! I did not go through PP;just gave my credit card info at the checkout. Must have been good karma from the shell gods!!:D

  14. I got it to go through as a charge on my credit card- don’t quite know how it happened. Maybe good karma and some help from the shelling gods!!:D

  15. Okay- I think I got all the bugs worked out and everything is coming through beautifully so thank you for all of your patience. And thank you for your orders! I am getting them out right away so they will be there for Christmas. What a great way to Shellebrate The Season! xoxo

    • Thanks SO much, Pam!

  16. Merry Christmas to me…..just bought myself an I Love Shelling Tee….Whee!!!

  17. Wheeee!!!!!! xoxo!

  18. Did you actually listen to this video before posting it? Did you mean us to be able to hear what she was saying? Because I hear the ocean and a lot of other people talking.

  19. How can I drill a hole through a Dentalium shell down through the middle?

  20. Video is missing… do you have info on drilling holes into shells? I have tried the dremel with several bits and it causes the shells to fracture every time no matter the thickness.

  21. Hi, I would love to have been able to hear how to make a hole in sea shells and glass. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the instructions over the sounds of the ocean and wind. Perhaps you could post the instructions in a written format for those of us who have difficulty hearing? Or a video that shows the process? It would be truly appreciated! :)

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